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Nuggetpalooza’s Around the NFL: Week 2

09.18.10 at 9:47 am ET
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nuggetpalooza-small3All aboard for the Week Two edition of Nuggetpalooza’s “Around the NFL”:

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* – Only two teams scored a touchdown on their first possession of the 2010 season: The New England Patriots and the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints.

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* – The Chicago Bears scored a touchdown on a pass completed behind the line of scrimmage last Sunday against Detroit. It was the first touchdown on that type of pass completion in the Bears last 117 games. Their last one came during Week 13 of the 2002 season.

There were 358 such TD passes thrown by other teams in between those scores by the Bears.

The Bears themselves completed 450 passes caught behind the line of scrimmage in between touchdowns.

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* – After throwing only one red zone interception last season, the Carolina Panthers threw 3 last Sunday against the New York Giants, the only 3 such picks in the league last week. The Giants did not have a single red zone pick last year. The Panthers became the 2nd team since 1991 to throw 3 red zone interceptions in a game, joining the 1996 Jaguars.

It was the 4th time that the Panthers have thrown multiple red zone INT’s in a game, tied with six other teams for the most in the league since 1991 (although the Panthers have only been around since ’95).

Four teams (New England, Washington, Oakland, New York Jets) have never thrown multiple red zone picks in a game since ’91.

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* – The Arizona Cardinals have thrown just 1 third quarter interception since the start of 2008 (341 attempts). They have 18 touchdown passes in the third quarter in that same span (although none in the last 10).

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* – The Baltimore Ravens allowed just 60 net passing yards last week, the fewest since they allowed 55 to the Washington Redskins back on October 10, 2004.

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* – Since Week 6 last year (12 games), opposing passers have completed just 30% (39 out of 130) of passes which traveled 10 or more yards in the air against the New York Jets (the lowest percentage in the league in that span). Those 130 attempts included 7 interceptions and no touchdowns.

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* – Last season, the Dallas Cowboys were the worst team in the NFL at capitalizing on long drives of 10 plays or more, scoring on just 42% of those possessions. Last week against Washington, they had three such drives and failed to score on any of them. The rest of the NFL scored on 66% of those opportunities.

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* – The Carolina Panthers went 0-10 passing on 2nd downs last Sunday against the Giants, the worst 2nd down performance since they began tracking the stat in 1991:

0 for 10 – Carolina Panthers; 9/12/10; vs NY Giants
0 for 8 – Kansas City Chiefs; 10/25/92; vs Pittsburgh
0 for 7 – By three different teams

Carolina completed 65.5% of their 2nd down passes in 2009 (11th), while the Giants allowed 68.4% of those passes to be completed (28th).

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* – The Jacksonville Jaguars were the only team in the NFL that did not have a “three and out” possession last weekend (versus Denver).

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* – The San Diego Chargers forced the Chiefs into 9 punts last Monday night. It was just the 2nd time since 2001 that a Chargers’ opponent has punted 9+ times but San Diego has lost the game.

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* – After leading the NFL in average starting field position in 2009 (32.5 yard line), the Minnesota Vikings ranked 31st last week, averaging a 21.6 yard line start. Only the Redskins starting position (21.1) was worse.

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* – The Oakland Raiders have not reached double figures in passing first downs in any of their last 13 games, averaging just 6.6 during that stretch. Compare that to Indianapolis, who has averaged 15.9 such first downs during that same span… 9 more per game!

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* – The Arizona Cardinals fumbled a league high 7 times last Sunday, losing 4 of them. The 7 fumbles tied their team record (since ’91), which was set just last December. Basically, they’ve put it on the ground 7 times TWICE in their last 5 games.

It was the first time that the Rams have ever had an opponent fumble as many as 7 times in a game.

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* – The New York Jets have thrown exactly one 4th quarter TD pass in their last 26 games.

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* – The New York Giants kicked off 7 times last Sunday and none of those kicks reached the end zone. Last year, they ranked 23rd as 28.6% of their kicks carried into the end zone.

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* – Last season, the Dallas Cowboys had 6 pass completions that lost yardage. They had 4 such completions last Sunday night. Washington‘s defense tackled just 6 receivers behind the line last year as well.

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* – The Detroit Lions have suffered at least one quarterback sack in each of their last 19 games, the longest current streak in the league:

19 – Detroit Lions
16 – Seattle Seahawks
15 – Dallas Cowboys

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* – The Chicago Bears rang up 362 net passing yards on Sunday, their most since October 14, 2007 (42 games ago) and their 2nd most since 1999.

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* – The Denver Broncos had 5 pass plays gain 25+ yards last week against Jacksonville but lost the game. They’re just the 5th team since the start of the 2008 season to lose despite 5+ big pass plays. The others are Tampa Bay (twice), Kansas City, and San Diego.

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* – The Pittsburgh Steelers have sacked the opposing quarterback at least once in each of their last 26 games, the longest current streak in the NFL:

26 – Pittsburgh Steelers
20 – Philadelphia Eagles
20 – Washington Redskins

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* – The Chicago Bears averaged 16.2 yards per pass completion last Sunday versus Detroit. It was the highest average by a Bears offense with 20+ completions since the days of Jim McMahon and the “Shufflin’ Crew” (9/19/85).

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* – The Houston Texans ran for 218 yards in the 2nd half on Sunday against the Colts, the 7th highest 2nd half rushing total since they started tracking the stat in 1991. The highest is a whopping 311 yards by the Vikings in 2007 against San Diego).

It was the most 2nd half rushing yards ever by the Texans and also the most such yards ever against the Colts.

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* – The Detroit Lions rushed for 21 yards on 20 carries last Sunday against the Bears. That 1.05 average per carry is the 8th lowest in a single game in the NFL since 1991 (minimum 20 carries). The Bears defense can take credit for three of those eight:

1.05 – Last Sunday vs Detroit
0.69 – 2008 vs Tennessee
0.85 – 2003 vs Detroit

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* – The Baltimore Ravens had at least one rush of 10+ yards in 71 consecutive games, but that streak was snapped last Monday night against the Jets. So now here are the longest current streaks:

55 – New York Giants
32 – Miami Dolphins
30 – Minnesota Vikings

What about the longest streak with at least TWO runs of 10+ yards? It’s the Arizona Cardinals (13) and the Kansas City Chiefs (10).

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* – The Cleveland Browns defense has allowed at least one rush of 10 or more yards in 70 consecutive games, the longest in the NFL:

70 – Cleveland Browns
46 – Houston Texans
41 – Buffalo Bills

The Bills have allowed multiple runs of 10+ yards in their last 21 games, the longest such streak in the league.

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* – The Oakland Raiders led the NFL in gross punting average (51.1) and net average (43.9) last season and are off to a good start in 2010. Their gross (54.8) and net (49.5) were both NFL highs last weekend.

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* – The Carolina Panthers blocked the 8th punt in team history last weekend against the Giants. Their last came back in 2004. It was the 13th time that the Giants have had a punt blocked since 1991.

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* – Don’t expect much punt block action in games involving the Cleveland Browns. They haven’t had a punt blocked since they returned to the NFL  in 1999, a span of 962 punts, the only NFL team without one in that span. What’s more, the Browns, Packers, and Seahawks are the only teams that have not blocked a punt since the start of the 2004 season. It’s interesting that all three of those teams blocked one during the 2003 season.

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* – The New England Patriots were one of only eight teams that did not fumble last week. This after they led the NFL in fumble avoidance in 2009 by fumbling on just 1.03% of their offensive touches.

The Pats had 7 different games in 2009 in which they had zero fumbles, more than any other team. Green Bay, Indianapolis, and San Diego each had 6 such games.

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* – The Houston Texans and the Tennessee Titans each had 3 rushing touchdowns last week. How often does that happen? Well, 20 of the 32 teams have had 3+ rushing TD in a game since the start of last season.

The Washington Redskins have not had such a game in their last 50 straight, the longest current streak in the league:

50 – Washington Redskins
46 – Tampa Bay Bucs
45 – Oakland Raiders

Pittsburgh holds the longest streak without ALLOWING 3+ rushing touchdowns in a game, having not allowed that many since 2003:

106 – Pittsburgh Steelers
57 – Arizona Cardinals
56 – Baltimore Ravens

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* – The Cincinnati Bengals had 3 different pass plays gain 25 or more yards last week against New England. It was the first time that they’ve had that many in a game since the final week of the 2007 season.

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* – The Pittsburgh Steelers allowed Atlanta just 2.04 average yards after the catch last week, the 4th lowest in any game since 2000 (min. 250 pass yards allowed):

1.88 – Indianapolis vs New England (9/9/04)
1.93 – New England vs Indianapolis (11/7/05)
1.95 – Baltimore vs Pittsburgh (9/7/03)
2.04 – Pittsburgh vs Atlanta (9/12/10)

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Enjoy your NFL weekend and feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment or shoot me an email at gmarbry@weei.com!

Maroney excited for fresh start with the Broncos

09.17.10 at 4:30 pm ET
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In his first interview with the Denver media, former Patriots running back Laurence Maroney said he understood the criticism he received in New England because he was a first-round pick, but also added that he’s excited for the “fresh start” he’ll get with the Broncos.

“[The fans and the media] definitely criticized me a lot, but it’s OK. I was a first-rounder so I felt like they were looking at me in a bigger light than everybody else. But it’s one of those things, it’s over with now. That was then and I’m here with the Broncos and now I’m focusing on my future here,” Maroney told reporters Friday.

“Don’t get me wrong, there is always some stuff I could have done different or wanted to do different or wished I could have done if I had the chances to do, but I didn’t have those chances. But now I’m just focusing on my future here in Denver and being the best player I can be for them.”

Maroney, who rushed for 2,430 yards in four seasons with the Patriots, was dealt to Denver for a fourth-round pick earlier this week. He joins a backfield that includes starter Knowshon Moreno and No. 2 back Correll Buckhalter. He said it’s too early to know exactly what sort of role he’ll have with the Broncos, but was just excited about the opportunity for a new beginning.

“I’m not going to say I needed it, but it is always helpful to have a fresh start, a clean slate and start over from the beginning,” said Maroney, who reportedly won’t be on the field this weekend. “All I want to do is come out here and help and do anything possible to help the team win.

“I’d love for this to be a long-term thing. It’s one of those things where you know Denver is going to run the ball and it’s one of them things with ‘Buck’ and ‘Know’, I’m not coming in there trying to take anybody’s plays away or anybody’s shine, I just want to come in and fit in and help the team win, just be part of a winning team.”

Read More: Broncos, Laurence Maroney,

Jets Injury Report for Friday

09.17.10 at 4:16 pm ET
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Jets Friday Practice Report
Out

DT Kris Jenkins (placed on IR)
LB Calvin Pace (out)

Questionable
S Brodney Pool (questionable–limited participation)

Probable
CB Darrelle Revis (hamstring–full participation)

Read More: injury report, Jets,

Patriots Injury Report for Friday

09.17.10 at 4:11 pm ET
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Patriots Friday Practice Report
Out

OL Nick Kaczur (back–did not practice)
CB Terrence Wheatley (foot–did not practice)

Questionable
WR Julian Edelman (foot–limited participation)

Probable
QB Tom Brady (right shoulder–full participation)
RB Fred Taylor (toe–full participation)
WR Wes Welker (not injury related–limited participation)

Read More: injury report,

Peter King on D&H: Jets will play ‘like a desperate team’

09.17.10 at 3:03 pm ET
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king21

Peter King

Sports Illustrated NFL columnist Peter King joined Dale & Holley on Friday for his weekly conversation and touched on a number of topics, including his pick of the Jets to beat the Patriots despite the heavy dysfunction within the organization.

“I think it just falls under the category of, I look at games and look at the desperate team,” King said. “The Jets are going to play this game like a desperate team. There’s so much turmoil building there. I don’t have any real scientific thing, other than I think they’re going to play the game like every play is their last.

“I think Shonn Greene, they have thought all along that yes, it’s nice to have LaDainian Tomlinson on this team, but they’ve thought all along that Shonn Greene was going to be a 1,300-yard running back this year and I think they are going to try and establish that.”

Following are highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

On the conservative game plan of the Jets vs. the Ravens:

I think the game plan was too conservative. But you ask any offensive coordinator, I was talking to a head coach in the NFL this week who is an offensive-minded guy, we were talking about that. One of the things he said was that watching their game had to do with two things. The coaching staff feeling like they needed to protect [Mark] Sanchez number one, and number two, this is probably the more important thing, their lack of faith in their ability to protect Sanchez and give him time to get the ball downfield.

I think the most idiotic thing of all in that game plan, I mean totally idiotic, is here’s one of the weakest secondaries in the NFL, you’re without your prime cover guy Lardarius Webb and one of the best safeties of his day in Ed Reed, and the longest completion of the day is 13 yards. You’ve got to test that secondary more than they did. And I’m not a huge Braylon Edwards fan, but he is tall and he is one of your starting wide receivers. You have to throw a few up and let him try to go get them.

On Mark Sanchez:

He hasn’t shown me enough at all yet, and I covered the game in San Diego last year you guys were talking about it earlier, and I thought he played very, very well that day because he took what was there and he didn’t force anything. I think this offense had such a bad summer with no sign that they were making progress. I look at it and I just say what gives Brian Schottenheimer the faith to let him stand back there and look at three or four options and sidestep a pass rusher from a heavy rush team?

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Read More: Darrelle Revis, Mark Sanchez, Peter King,

Stephen Neal on D&H: Pats aim to silence Jets fans

09.17.10 at 2:02 pm ET
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Stephen Neal

Stephen Neal

Patriots offensive lineman Stephen Neal made his weekly call to the Dale & Holley show Friday afternoon and talked about what he expects to face Sunday when the Pats play the Jets, who feature one of the league’s best defenses. To hear the interview, visit the Dale & Holley audio on demand page.

“With the Jets, you never know how they’re going to line up,” Neal said. “They have a lot of good game-plan fronts that they’ll throw in there, so you just never know. They have a lot of in-between-type guys, linebacker-lineman types that always can give you some problems, too. It’s going to be a formidable front for us again, and hopefully we put in enough work this week and we can all work together and have a good performance.”

Added Neal: “The key thing is all five of us, and the tight ends, everyone on the field has to kind of know how we’re seeing the thing. If you have a whole bunch of people on the field doing different things, that when problems happen.”

Jets nose tackle Kris Jenkins re-injured his knee in Monday night’s loss to the Ravens and is lost for the season. Neal expressed sympathy for Jenkins but said he doesn’t expect to have an easier time Sunday because of his absence. “You feel for him and his family. You never want to see someone get hurt bad, especially like that, an injury he had last year,” Neal said. “Last year they didn’t have him the whole year and they were a great defense then, too. It’s always a challenge with the Jets. And they have some other guys that are real tough in there, too.”

Talking about the Jets’ loud crowd, Neal said the Patriots should be prepared. “We just have to communicate a little extra,” he said. “We put in a lot of work this week with loud noise in practice, so hopefully that will get us ready for this game this week.” Added Neal: “We have to bring our own energy and our own excitement, and go out there and try to get these [Jets fans] to be quiet by putting up a good performance.”

Read More: Kris Jenkins, Stephen Neal,

Bits from Belichick, 9/17

09.17.10 at 12:50 pm ET
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Here are a few highlights from this morning’s Bill Belichick press conference:

Do you have a big enough sample yet to tell how the new stadium, the winds and the currents will affect your passing game?
“There wasn’t really a lot of wind a couple of weeks ago. There was a little bit, but not much. It doesn’t look like it’s going to be – the stadium is so high, it doesn’t look like there is going to be a lot of wind. I think the wind currents or the patterns are usually a little bit different. The wind bounces off the top of the stadium and kind of goes the other way as the flags are blowing up on top. I doesn’t look like it’s a real … there’s not much openness to it. It’s pretty high.”

In the second game you guys played last year, how much did Darrelle Revis match up with Wes Welker? How much would that surprise you if that happened Sunday?
“Really, nothing would really surprise me. The Jets can handle things however they want to handle them. They have a number of good players. Whatever their strategy is, I’m sure it will be what they think is best to handle us. We’ll see how that plays out. I don’t know.”

Was Revis all on Moss that second game?
“Yeah, mostly.”

Last year we saw Gary Guyton play almost the entire game on the field but last game it seemed he had more of a specialized role on passing downs. Is that more suited to the kind of skills he has to be pass coverage more?
“No, I think we have a lot of confidence in Gary in every situation. I think that he’ll play – he has played on all four downs and I think he will continue to play on all four downs. He’s got good skills all the way around. He runs well. He’s big. He’s an instinctive player – smart guy. He has the capacity to do a number of different things. He’s got some versatility. He can do a lot of different things for us.”
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Read More: Bill Belichick,
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